Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 56, Issue 12, pp 8589–8602 | Cite as

Deletion of Arginase 2 Ameliorates Retinal Neurodegeneration in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis

  • Chithra D. Palani
  • Abdelrahman Y. Fouda
  • Fang Liu
  • Zhimin Xu
  • Eslam Mohamed
  • Shailedra Giri
  • Sylvia B. Smith
  • Ruth B. Caldwell
  • S. Priya NarayananEmail author


Optic neuritis is a major clinical feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) and can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss. Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated the critical involvement of arginase 2 (A2) in retinal neurodegeneration in models of ischemic retinopathy. The current study was undertaken to investigate the role of A2 in MS-mediated retinal neuronal damage and degeneration. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was induced in wild-type (WT) and A2 knockout (A2−/−) mice. EAE-induced motor deficits, loss of retinal ganglion cells, retinal thinning, inflammatory signaling, and glial activation were studied in EAE-treated WT and A2−/− mice and their respective controls. Increased expression of A2 was observed in WT retinas in response to EAE induction. EAE-induced motor deficits were markedly reduced in A2−/− mice compared with WT controls. Retinal flat mount studies demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of RGCs in WT EAE retinas in comparison with normal control mice. A significant improvement in neuronal survival was evident in retinas of EAE-induced A2−/− mice compared with WT. RNA levels of the proinflammatory molecules CCL2, COX2, IL-1α, and IL-12α were significantly reduced in the A2−/− EAE retinas compared with WT EAE. EAE-induced activation of glia (microglia and Müller cells) was markedly reduced in A2−/− retinas compared with WT. Western blot analyses showed increased levels of phospho-ERK1/2 and reduced levels of phospho-BAD in the WT EAE retina, while these changes were prevented in A2−/− mice. In conclusion, our studies establish EAE as an excellent model to study MS-mediated retinal neuronal damage and suggest the potential value of targeting A2 as a therapy to prevent MS-mediated retinal neuronal injury.


Arginase 2 Retina Optic neuritis Neurodegeneration EAE Retinal ganglion cells 



Arginase 2


A2 knockout


Ganglion cell complex


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis


Ganglion cell layer


Inner plexiform layer


Inner nuclear layer


Multiple sclerosis


Outer plexiform layer


Outer nuclear layer


Optical coherence tomography




Retinal ganglion cells


Retinal nerve fiber layer


Wild type


Author Contributions

CDP implemented the experiments, analyzed the data, prepared the figures, and edited the manuscript. AYF helped with experimental design, analyzed the data, prepared figures, and wrote the manuscript. FL performed experiments, analyzed the data, and prepared the figures. ZX induced the in vivo experimental model and helped with analyzing the data. EM helped with induction of the model and clinical scoring. SG helped with experimental design and establishing the animal model in our laboratory. SBS provided assistance with SD-OCT experiment and edited the manuscript. RBC contributed to experimental design and revised the manuscript. SPN conceived, designed and coordinated the experiments, and finalized the manuscript.


This study was supported in part by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (PP-1606-08778 to S.P.N.), National Eye Institute (R01EY028569 to S.P.N.), and Augusta University Culver Vision Discovery Institute.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12035_2019_1691_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (147 kb)
Figure S1 (PDF 147 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chithra D. Palani
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdelrahman Y. Fouda
    • 2
    • 3
  • Fang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhimin Xu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eslam Mohamed
    • 4
    • 5
  • Shailedra Giri
    • 6
  • Sylvia B. Smith
    • 2
    • 7
  • Ruth B. Caldwell
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
    • 8
  • S. Priya Narayanan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics, College of PharmacyUniversity of GeorgiaAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Culver Vision Discovery InstituteAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  3. 3.Vascular Biology CenterAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  4. 4.Georgia Cancer CenterAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  5. 5.Department of ImmunologyMoffitt Cancer CenterTampaUSA
  6. 6.Department of NeurologyHenry Ford Health SystemDetroitUSA
  7. 7.Department of Cellular Biology and AnatomyAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  8. 8.Charlie Norwood VA Medical CenterAugustaUSA

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